Caramel Popcorn Balls

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  • Caramel Popcorn Balls – Made in the microwave in just 15 minutes! Covered in sweet, gooey caramel and perfectly chewy and crunchy.

    I’m obsessed with all things caramel! I love the rich, golden flavor and how decadent it tastes in desserts. These caramel popcorn balls are a favorite, as well as microwave caramel candies, caramel apple dip, homemade toffee and peanut brittle.

    stack of caramel popcorn balls on a white plate

    Easy popcorn balls

    These caramel popcorn balls are adapted from my microwave caramel popcorn recipe and taste SO delicious! They’re covered in a sweet, gooey caramel sauce and are perfectly chewy and crunchy.

    The best thing about these popcorn balls is that they are SO simple to make and will take only about 15 minutes from start to finish. You don’t even need to turn on the stove and pull out the candy thermometer. Easy peasy!

    Kids of all ages (even adults) love popcorn balls. These would make the perfect treat for any fall or Halloween party! You could even add in some extras like M&M’s, candy corn, chopped nuts or sprinkles. So fun!

    Reasons to love them:

    • Made in the microwave. No stove or oven required! Only the microwave is used.
    • Ready in 15 minutes. Your popcorn balls will be ready in 15 minutes from start to finish.
    • Kid and adult approved. This is a fun treat for ALL ages – everyone always love them!
    • Perfect for parties. Individual bite-sized treats are great for entertaining.
    • Makes a great gift. Homemade gifts are always better in my opinion. Simply wrap in gift wrap, tie with a bow and add a gift tag!

    mixing caramel corn in a glass bowl with a wooden spoon

    How to make popcorn balls

    To prepare, lay a piece of wax or parchment paper on the counter or on a baking sheet. Place popped popcorn in a large bowl and set aside.

    Step 1: Cook caramel in microwave 

    Add butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in a microwave safe bowl. Cook for one minute. Stir and cook two additional minutes for chewy popcorn balls. If you like crunchy popcorn balls, cook an additional minute.

    Step 2: Add in vanilla and baking soda

    Remove caramel from microwave and stir in vanilla and baking soda.

    Step 3:  Coat popcorn with caramel and form into balls 

    Pour caramel over popcorn and stir until well coated. Allow to cool slightly. Grease hands with butter (or use wax paper or gloves) and shape the popcorn into 2-inch balls.

    TIPS:

    • To test if your caramel has reached a soft ball, grab a cup of ice water. Then dip a spoon in the caramel and then dip it into the ice water. It should form a soft ball (chewy caramel). If it’s still stringy, cook an additional minute.
    • One batch goes a long way. It will typically make 24 (2-inch balls) , but depending on the size could make more or less.

    how to make popcorn balls

    Other add-in’s:

    These popcorn balls taste delicious as-is, but feel free to add in extras if desired. Such a fun way to make these treats a little more festive around the holidays!

    • Chopped nuts
    • M&M’s
    • Chocolate chips
    • Mini marshmallows
    • Candy corn
    • Sprinkles

    Storage tips

    To keep the popcorn balls fresh, you can either wrap them individually with plastic wrap or store them in a zip top bag or airtight container. They will keep at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

    popcorn balls stacked on white plate

    More easy popcorn recipes:

    popcorn balls

    Popcorn Balls Recipe

    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: caramel popcorn balls, easy popcorn balls, how to make popcorn balls, popcorn balls
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 5 minutes
    Total Time: 15 minutes
    Servings: 24
    Calories: 97
    Author: Jamielyn Nye
    Caramel Popcorn Balls - Made in the microwave in just 15 minutes! Covered in sweet, gooey caramel and perfectly chewy and crunchy. 

    Ingredients

    • 10-12 cups popped popcorn , I used skinny pop
    • 1/2 cup butter , cut into pieces
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • Pinch of salt

    Optional mix in's: chopped nuts, m&m's, candy corn, sprinkles

      Instructions

      • Lay a piece of wax or parchment paper on the counter or on a baking sheet. Place popped popcorn in a large bowl. Set aside. 
      • Place butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in a microwave safe bowl. Cook for one minute. Stir and cook two additional minutes for chewy popcorn balls. If you like crunchy popcorn balls, cook an additional minute. 
      • Remove from microwave. Stir in vanilla and baking soda. 
      • Pour caramel over popcorn and stir until well coated. Allow to cool slightly. Grease hands with butter (or use wax paper or gloves) and shape the popcorn into 2-inch balls. Wrap each ball with plastic wrap or store in a zip top bag or airtight container for up to 2 weeks. 

      Notes

      • For a fun twist, mix in m&m's, candy corn and/or nuts. 
      • One batch goes a long way. It will typically make 24 (2-inch balls) , but depending on the size could make more or less.
       
      Tip: To test if your caramel has reached a soft ball, grab a cup of ice water. Then dip a spoon in the caramel and then dip it into the ice water. It should form a soft ball (chewy caramel). If it's still stringy, cook an additional minute.

      Nutrition

      Serving: 1popcorn ball | Calories: 97kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 62mg | Potassium: 27mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 127IU | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
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